Home Banking & Finance Chase ordered to pay law firm $2.5M for tardy filing of mortgage...

Chase ordered to pay law firm $2.5M for tardy filing of mortgage satisfactions

A White Plains law firm – Finkelstein, Blankinship, Frei-Pearson & Garber – has been awarded up to $2.5 million in a class action lawsuit against JP Morgan Chase Bank over filing mortgage satisfaction papers slowly.

chase Based on the law firm’s fee of 26.3 percent on all potential claims, the case could cost Chase more than $9.5 million.

The case was bought in 2015 by Tina Bellino of Tarrytown, under a New York law that requires mortgage companies to file proof within 30 days of a mortgage being paid off.

“This is no mere procedural peccadillo,” the lawsuit states.

Failure to file a satisfaction of mortgage disrupts the system of transferring residential properties, the complaint states. Without a clear title, for example, an owner may not be able to sell a property.

Bellino sold a Tarrytown property in 2012 and paid off her Chase mortgage, but the proof was not filed with the Westchester county clerk for 41 days.

The complaint does not state that Bellino was harmed by the delay, but says she is entitled to $500 under the state Real Property Acts Law.

A review of county records, according to the lawsuit, indicated that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of Chase mortgage satisfactions were filed late.

The law firm and Chase negotiated a preliminary settlement that requires the bank to pay from $170 to $750 to New York property owners whose mortgage satisfactions were not filed in time, from May 1, 2011 to Nov. 7, 2016. The penalty depends on when the paperwork was submitted to county clerks to be publicly recorded.

Bellino was awarded $5,000 for representing property owners.

Kurtzman Carson Consultants identified 33,850 potential claimants. The judgment does not say how many property owners chose to participate in the settlement and it does not specify the total amount of damages.

Federal Judge Nelson S. Roman approved the settlement on Nov. 9.


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